pregnmant woman.jpgHundreds of pregnant women in Harare are finding it difficult to commence Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and AIDS medication as they are failing to pay the maternity fees being charged at local clinics.

Post independent gains in reproductive health could soon be eroded owing to prohibitive costs of maternity services in most health institutions throughout the country.

 

Soon after independence, government sought to address the issue of safe motherhood and family planning, which are some of the major elements in the reduction of infant mortality rate.

 

In a survey conducted in Harare,  ZBC News crew came across a woman who preferred anonymity in Highfield and is now eight months pregnant and had only registered for antenatal care when she was in her seventh month  because the local clinic was demanding cash upfront.

 

“They have been refusing to accept my installments insisting on the whole amount and I only managed to register last month when I was already seven months pregnant,” said the woman.

 

Council clinics are currently charging US$”50 for maternity fees, an amount that has become deterrent for many pregnant mothers as they are unable to pay it in one installment.

 

It also emerged that there is no clear cut policy with regards to the methodology of payment, as some clinics are allowing mothers to pay in installments while some are demanding the whole amount upfront.

 

Those who talked to ZBC News expressed concern over the maternity charges saying they were prohibitive considering the high cost of living.

 

“Government should intervene by reducing maternity fees, its so difficult for most of us to raise US$50 for we also need food, clothing, paying school fees and other things yet our husbands are not earning a lot,” added another woman.

 

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), at least eight women die each day while giving birth, a situation that

can significantly change if women have access to maternity care.

 

In July this year, government launched a Campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa after the realization that many women were facing a number of challenges when they seek access to modern health facilities.

 

A significant number of women particularly those in the low income bracket and those in rural areas die each day due to pregnancy related complications because they cannot access health services on time.